The Semantics of Clause Linking: A Cross-Linguistic Typology

The Semantics of Clause Linking: A Cross-Linguistic Typology

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The Semantics of Clause Linking: A Cross-Linguistic Typology by R. M. W. Dixon

This book is a cross-linguistic examination of the different grammatical means languages employ to represent a general set of semantic relations between clauses. The investigations focus on ways of combining clauses other than through relative and complement clause constructions. These span a number of types of semantic linking. Three, for example, describe varieties of consequence - cause, result, and purpose - which may be illustrated in English by, respectively: Because John has been studying German for years, he speaks it well; John has been studying German for years, thus he speaks it well; and John has been studying German for years, in order that he should speak it well. Syntactic descriptions of languages provide a grammatical analysis of clause types. The chapters in this book add the further dimension of semantics, generally in the form of focal and supporting clauses, the former referring to the central activity or state of the biclausal linking; and the latter to the clause attached to it. The supporting clause may set out the temporal milieu for the focal clause or specify a condition or presupposition for it or a preliminary statement of it, as in Although John has been studying German for years (the supporting clause), he does not speak it well (the focal clause). Professor Dixon's extensive opening discussion is followed by fourteen case studies of languages ranging from Korean and Kham to Iquito and Ojibwe. The book's concluding synthesis is provided by Professor Aikhenvald.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780191609954
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Publication date: 08/06/2009
Series: Explorations in Linguistic Typology , #5
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 12 MB
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About the Author

R. M. W. Dixon is Adjunct Professor at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University. His pioneering fieldwork on Australian Aboriginal languages began in the 1960s and led, among many other works, to grammars of Dyirbal and Yidiñ, culminating in Australian Languages: Their nature and development (CUP 2002). His other books include A Grammar of Boumaa Fijian (U Chicago Press 1988), Ergativity (CUP, 1994), The Rise and Fall of Languages (CUP 1997) and A Semantic Approach to English Grammar (OUP 2005). The hardback edition of The Jarawara Language of Southern Amazonia (OUP 2004) was winner of the 2004-5 Leonard Bloomfield Prize. Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald is Professor and Research Leader (People and Societies of the Tropics) in the Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Australia. She has worked on descriptive and historical aspects of Berber languages and has published, in Russian, a grammar of Modern Hebrew (1990; second edition 2009). She is a major authority on languages of the Arawak family, from northern Amazonia, and has written grammars of Bare (1995, based on work with the last speaker who has since died) and Warekena (1998), plus A Grammar of Tariana, from Northwest Amazonia (Cambridge University Press, 2003), in addition to essays on various typological and areal features of South American languages. Other books include Classifiers: a Typology of Noun Categorization Devices (2000, paperback 2003), Language Contact in Amazonia (2002) and Evidentiality (2004, paperback 2006), all published by OUP. She is co-editor with R. M. W. Dixon of the OUP series Explorations in Linguistic Typology, the fifth volume of which, The Semantics of Clause Linking, appeared in 2009.

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